Preventing Prenatal Harm

cover art
208 pp., 6 x 9
ISBN: 9780878406005 (087840600X)

November 1995
LC: 95-36923

Clinical Medical Ethics series



Preventing Prenatal Harm
Should the State Intervene?
Second Edition
Deborah Mathieu

Arguing that the state must meet strict conditions to justify interfering in at-risk pregnancies, Deborah Mathieu examines the legal and ethical concerns that arise when governments mandate the behavior of pregnant women. She explores both the pregnant woman's right to decide what happens to her body and the future child's right to be protected from avoidable damage. Mathieu addresses such topics as reproductive hazards in the workplace, mandated fetal therapy, forced lifestyle changes for pregnant women, and the future child's right to sue for lack of prenatal care. The controversy raises key issues of rights, duties, and the scope of legitimate state action, thus posing fundamental challenges to the fields of medicine, biomedical ethics, law, and public policy.

This edition has been completely updated and expanded. Mathieu presents new arguments for acceptable types of state intervention and provides specific examples. This edition also incorporates recent court decisions, especially cases involving substance abuse. The book includes both an updated bibliography and an updated reference list of relevant court cases.

Deborah Mathieu is an associate professor in the political science department at the University of Arizona.
H. Tris Engelhardt and Kevin Wm. Wildes, Series Editors
"A highly readable, eminently sensible book. . . . Mathieu sensitively balances the claims of the future child against the pregnant woman's rights to privacy and self-determination. . . . Preventing Prenatal Harm should be required reading for all those likely to face such a decision."—Bioethics, reviewing a previous edition or volume

"Her arguments are masterfully marshalled. For those interested in the subject matter, this book is now their point of departure—regardless of their terminus."—Theological Studies

"Mathieu's book is clear, succinct, and philosophically astute. Those working on reproductive ethics will find it a useful reference since it summarizes legal cases well and supports empirical claims with a wealth of medical date."—Ethics